News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: March 18, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Settlements with Advantage Title and Two Title Representatives Over Alleged Illegal Rebating
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that he has reached an agreement with an underwritten title company and two of its title marketing representatives to resolve actions taken against each for alleged illegal rebate activities. Advantage Title, Inc., and two of its marketing representatives, Michael Langgle and Mariya Vassileva, allegedly engaged in activities to benefit realtors and lenders as an inducement for the placement and referral of title business, in violation of rebate laws.
"I refuse to allow title companies or its sales representatives to break the law and drive up rates for consumers through illegal rebating," said Commissioner Poizner. "I hope that title marketing representatives and companies will think twice before engaging in this practice."
Under the California Insurance Code, it is illegal to provide educational programs to realtors and lenders that are not exclusively related to title insurance business. State law prohibits title entities from furnishing any part of the time and effort of its employees for services to realtors and lenders that are unrelated to title business. Under recent legislation, the Department of Insurance (CDI) is authorized to bring administrative actions against individual title marketing representatives along with title companies who engage in illegal rebate practices. Since the law went into effect, CDI has aggressively prosecuted actions against individual title marketing representatives for instances of illegal rebating.
CDI alleged that Langgle, Vassileva and Advantage Title, Inc., facilitated the presentation of a free seminar for realtors and lenders on a subject unrelated to title business. The seminar, "Learn the Art of the Short Sale," took place in Irvine on Dec. 14, 2009. Approximately 30 realtors and lenders attended the meeting. Langgle and Vassileva created and distributed flyers, handled registration and reservations, procured a conference room at a discounted rate in the building in which Advantage Title has its corporate office and otherwise helped to organize and coordinate the event.
The settlements include agreement by all parties to halt these activities. Under the settlements, Langgle and Vassileva will have their certificates of registration suspended for 15 days. Additionally, Advantage Title will be required to pay a $5,000 monetary penalty.
Commissioner Poizner advises consumers that they have a choice when it comes to which title company to use. Prices can vary and consumers can compare rates on nearly 100 Title insurance companies in California via a Web site like http://www.clta.titlewizard.com/, which utilizes a software-generated system to deliver up-to-date Title rates. Sellers, home buyers, and homeowners looking to refinance their homes will be able to search by zip code and other factors to find the most competitive provider in their area.
Order for Advantage Title, Inc.
Order for Michael Allen Langgle
Order for Mariya Vassileva
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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